Hey Angels and Alphas,
With the holiday season right around the corner, weight loss enthusiasts and health conscious people everywhere are bracing themselves for a solid month of holidays, feasts, parties, and festivities.
It can be sort of overwhelming.
Even though one of the healthiest philosophies you can have is that you shouldn’t restrict yourself from the things you enjoy, it can be very helpful to enter the holidays with a plan that will keep your healthy lifestyle more or less on track.
These are the 4 crucial steps you have to go through to make sure you don’t begin the New Year trying to make amends for the holidays.
#1 CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
In the pursuit of cultivating a growth mindset, you should always be realistic about what you can and cannot tackle. While saying “I’m not going to eat any dessert for the entire holidays” might be unrealistic for some, “I’m not going to eat any dessert on most days” is entirely doable.
You should take a good look at your upcoming calendar and evaluate which of the upcoming events are a bit of a food splurge. You can use pretty much whatever criteria you want from this, from the quality of the food to its seasonal or nutritional value.
Three special occasions in a month is a reasonable target. You can even dial this up slightly depending on your goals and how important the holidays are for you, but if you’re celebrating multiple times a week, things might get problematic.
Once you have defined your truly special occasions, don’t worry about them anymore. Just look forward to enjoying them free of guilt and while being present in the moment.
#2 NEXT, PLAN YOUR ATTACK
Now that you’ve decided on what’s worth indulging in, you may also have decided what isn’t.
But there will be times at holiday events where you cannot gracefully opt-out of dessert, so you have to have a plan ready to go. Always remember to focus on activities and people and keep the food down to a minimum. That being said, when planning for food, there are always a few factors to keep in mind:
For shorter gatherings such as cocktail hour, your priority should be to eat beforehand or make concrete dinner plans afterward.
For longer events and dinners where food is a must, optimize your food choices for health and make peace with the fact that you don’t have to be so strict with your diet during the holidays.
In most cases, your number one priority should be to eat more veggies. If you fill up on as many veggies as you can, your evening isn’t going to be a net loss health-wise. And if you can insert some healthy lean protein or meat, you’ll be satisfied to avoid the massive variety of desserts that will inevitably appear.
#3 ANTICIPATE THE OBSTACLES
Executing your perfect plan might be easier said than done. For example, if you’re at a place and they have a buffet-style meal, this can be particularly challenging for a lot of people as there are no clear boundaries stopping you from indulging.
If holiday events are notoriously difficult for you, you might want to check in with yourself and make sure you’re not falling into some of the more common traps.
Do you tend to skip a bit on dinner than lose it all at the dessert table? Do you get hungry late during the night and need something sweet? Do you eat a few hors d’oeuvres before you even get to the real meal? Anticipate these obstacles – and preferably set up an alternative course of action.
In the buffer example, when it’s time to serve yourself, examine the entire table of options before making your decisions and choose the tastiest items you can find that are as healthy as possible. When you’ve made that selection, eat them mindfully and slowly.
#4 ADAPT AND ADJUST
As you are building your holiday hacking abilities, you are bound to experience many successes and many setbacks. And even though that’s difficult, it’s called learning, and it’s the only way to create consistent long-term progress.
Every year, your circumstances will be slightly different. You will have various obligations, changes in location, occupation, marital status, responsibilities, and more. Life will keep going and your strategies will need to adapt to the changing times.
That being said, the underlying lessons you learn will stay with you each year. Take the long-term view and mindset so you can get the most joy and the most health out of every holiday season while still learning the lessons you need to build a better relationship with food as a whole.